Dutch Regulator Puts Gambling App Operators on Notice

Dutch gaming regulators have called for a purge of real-money gambling apps from the online stores of mobile platforms, saying the operators are illegally serving Dutch gamers.

Last week, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) regulatory body warned that it would be posting a public list of the offending apps – it has identified 49 in total – and said it expected the creators of the apps as well as the app stores hosting them to make sure they are no longer available to the public.

The move is part of an on-going crackdown on illegality by the KSA. In the absence of a regulated gambling market, the authority has been coming down hard on all gambling operators serving Dutch players, focusing on the real-money sites over the free-play sites at the moment, though it has expressed concern about both.

Hefty Fines for Operators

In April 2014 in fact, the KSA fined two casinos and a support services company €180,000 for defying its order to cease serving Dutch gamblers.

Last week, an administrative court in The Hague upheld the fines on appeal by the offending companies, which argued that the punishment infringed on EU trade principles and the fines were disproportionate. The court however upheld the KSA’s right to punish the offenders.

Last year, KSA fined two companies €240,000 a piece for promoting their casino via a number of Dutch-language sites and offering a signup bonus to players in the Netherlands.

Remote Gaming Legislation 18 months Away

The steep fines reflect the Netherlands’ liberalization of its online gambling market, which has already endured a number of delays and won’t be expected to launch for another 18 months, according to a KSA spokesman. The fines are aimed at deterring would-be license applicants to keep out until the legislation goes through the proper channels.

The Remote Gambling Bill is expected to be reach the Lower House of the Dutch parliament next week, however KSA representative Martijn van de Koolwijk said it would be at least a year and a half until a launch could be considered and that in the meantime, the KSA would continue to enforce the rules. Fines for operators can reach €810,000 or 10% of the operator’s Dutch market sales.

KSA, he said, would also take past behaviour into consideration when applicants are processed for a new Dutch online gambling license.